Vladimir Borisovich Kramnik (Russian: Влади́мир Бори́сович Кра́мник; born 25 June 1975) is a Russian chess grandmaster. He was Classical World Chess Champion from 2000 to 2006, and undisputed World Chess Champion from 2006 to 2007.
In October 2000, he defeated Garry Kasparov in a match played in London, and became the Classical World Chess Champion. In late 2004, Kramnik successfully defended his title against challenger Péter Lékó in a drawn match played in Brissago, Switzerland.
In February 2004 Kramnik won the Tournament of Linares outright for the first time (he had tied for first with Kasparov in 2000), finishing undefeated with a +2 score, ahead of Garry Kasparov, the world's highest-rated player at the time.
In October 2006, Kramnik, the Classical World Champion, defeated reigning FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov in a unification match, the World Chess Championship 2006. As a result Kramnik became the first undisputed World Champion, holding both the FIDE and Classical titles, since Kasparov split from FIDE in 1993.
In 2007, Kramnik lost the title to Viswanathan Anand, who won the World Chess Championship tournament ahead of Kramnik. He challenged Anand at the World Chess Championship 2008 to regain his title, but lost.
Kramnik was granted a rematch to challenge Anand for the world title in 2008 in Bonn. He fell victim to Anand's superior preparation and was convincingly outplayed, losing three of the first six games (two with the white pieces). Kramnik's play gradually improved, and although he managed a 29 move victory in game 10, he was unable to win any others, and lost the match to Anand by a score of 6.5 to 4.5 (3 wins to Anand, 1 win to Kramnik, 7 draws).
Garry Kasparov described Kramnik's style as pragmatic and tenacious, in the latter similar to Anatoly Karpov. He is one of the toughest opponents to defeat, losing only one game over more than one hundred games leading up to his match with Kasparov, including eighty consecutive games without loss. Kasparov was unable to defeat Kramnik during their 2000 World Championship match, mainly due to the latter's very solid black opening repertoire where Kramnik, surprisingly, adopted the Berlin Defence of the Ruy Lopez which allowed him to neutralize Kasparov's 1.e4.